4castplus 3i – November 4th, 2014

In this release there are significant new features and enhancements in Change Management that include the ability to create Budget Transfers, Change Forecasts, and specify a funding source – which includes a drawdown from Contingency.  An additional exciting new feature is the new Custom Report Builder for user-templated reports. That’s just a few highlights, so read on and discover all what’s new in this release. Be sure to click on the screenshots to get a quick-view on how to get started.

AREA: Change Management

Change Type has been added to the Change Management form to enable you to create three types of changes:

  1. Change Order – For Scope Changes. (Previously available).
  2. New: Change Forecasts – For Change Trends
  3. New: Budget Transfer – For moving budget between workpackages with a net-zero change to the project budget

Funding Source has also been added so that users can specify where the funds are being derived for the change.

New: Change Forecast

A Change Forecast is available to capture anticipated project trends to forecast potential budgetary and schedule outcomes. A change forecast is treated separately and is reported in its own graphical trend line in the various timeline reports available. Multiple Forecasts can be created to capture different scenarios, and each can have its own full budget. They do not require approval; and can be converted to Change Orders or deleted if necessary.
As you’ll see further below, there is a new Forecast schedule for workpackages and the project. This forecast schedule is what is used for the trend line on change forecast timeline reports.

Project Forecasting

Project Change Trends

New: Budget Transfer

A Budget Transfer enables users to move cost and revenue budget between workpackages on a project. The budget transfer enforces that the net effect is zero on the overall project budget. Users can move lump-sum amounts, or move resource quantities.  Similar to Change Orders, Budget Transfers are subject to approval.
Project Change Management

New: Submit For Approval

There is now the option to submit Change Orders or Budget Transfers for approval. In this release, the approval routing is manual and permission based. In the upcoming release, users will be able to define the routing and approvers will receive notifications. In a future release, this approval will be optionally managed using the 4castplus project Team Portal.
Management of Change

New: Funding Source and Contingency Drawdowns

The Change Management area now provides the option to select the Funding Source for a Change Order. Specifying a funding source allows the user to identify the AFE, Purchase Order or other source that is to be used to fund the change order.

Additionally, users can specify “Contingency” as the funding source for a change order. This enables users to utilize the built-in contingency management features in 4castplus to manage the contingency reserve. By selecting contingency as the funding source will cause a Contingency Drawdown; and is subject to financial controls and approval. Contingency drawdowns are reported uniquely in the Reports area. Included in the report is a Burndown Chart that shows the full history of contingency usage.

Contingency Drawdown

New: Attach Documents to Changes

You can now upload and attach documents to changes. Drag & drop documents onto the window for easy upload.

Project change management

Area: Scheduling

New: Baseline, Current and Forecast Schedule

Previously, there was only schedule start & end date in 4castplus, and it did not get locked down after baseline. Now there are 3 schedule date pairs to represent the scheduling states of a project or workpackage:

  1. Baseline Schedule. The baseline start / end date and duration are locked after baseline and used in the baseline charts & schedule reports
  2. Current Schedule. The current represents any changes to the schedule for any workpackage on the project. The current represents the state at any point in the project’s lifecycle. At baseline, the baseline schedule will be copied forward to the current.
  3. Forecast Schedule. The forecast represents any anticipated schedule trends. This will be aligned with any Change Forecasts (trends) created in change management, and utilized on the Forecast timeline chart.

Project Scheduling

Project scheduling

Area: Reporting

New: Custom Report Builder

The new custom report builder provides a way for users to access 4castplus data and customize it into their own formatting and templates. Users can create templates in Excel using the 4castplus embedded formatting.

This release is the first of many releases for this feature. The 4castplus product roadmap includes adding many new features and datasets to this component. We encourage you to provide us with your feedback and requests for this component.

The images to the right will give you a quick-start to how to access and start using the report builder.
To get started, go to the reports tab in projects and select the Custom Reports button. To create a new report, click on new and select the Category and Component for your report. Bear in mind, there are two datasets included in this release; there will be many more to come!
A report “Template” is simply an Excel file with embedded 4castplus codes to identify which data fields go where. You can generate a customized template by clicking on Generate Template and pick the fields you want to included in the report. You can also select one of the sample templates we’ve provided for you to help get started using this powerful tool.

Project management reporting

4castplus custom report builder

4castplus custom report template quick-start

New: Forecast Spend Report By Task

The Timeline-Reports-By-Task has received an update to include the full forecast spend report. Find this in the Reports tab under EVM reports. With this report, all you need to do is click on a workpackage or folder and the various reports will update to the right. The associated excel tablular data is available to export to another system like Primavera.

EVM Timeline and cash flow reports

Area: Project Management

Progress Measurements

To better align the functionality with the name, what was previously called a “Forecast” in 4castplus is now called a “Progress Measurement”.  In addition to providing better clarity between forecasts and progress, this will pave the way for further capability to be added to progress measurements, rules of credit, etc.

Project Progress Measurement

Area: Procurement

Title has now been added to the Request for Quote and Purchase Order Forms.

There’s More of Course

As with any release, we continue to add Usability Enhancements and Bug Fixes as requested by clients and discovered by us. We’re committed to providing vital enterprise tools to make the management of engineering and construction projects easy and rich with powerful features.

To learn more about this software upgrade and more, please feel free to email us at info@4castplus.com or sign up for a free live demo of 4castplus.